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At 0-0 it’s time for Diamondbacks to go to work

The theme was obvious.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, following their final tune-up
game before the regular season begins, tended to share a
similar outlook when it came to judging what Spring
Training meant in regards to their season’s prospects.

“It doesn’t really matter what happened before
[Wednesday], starting Friday it’s a clean slate and
everybody’s very excited about it,” closer J.J. Putz said.

With a Cactus League-worst 12-25 record it’s no wonder the
team wants to forget about the last month or so and focus
on the season ahead.

“We start 0-0 with everybody on Friday,” manager Kirk
Gibson said.

Indeed, Friday marks the team’s chance to wash away the
bad taste the last couple seasons left in everyone’s
mouths and replace it with delicious optimism, an annual
rite for pretty much every team in Major League Baseball.

But, if the prognosticators are right, this is going to be
another long season in the Valley of the Sun. Without a
doubt the team enters the season with more questions than
answers, as neither first nor third bases are currently
manned by an everyday player and with left field
continuing its impressive streak of chewing up and
spitting out options since Luis Gonzalez roamed that
territory. Factor in a young-but-talented-but-probably-
lacking-an-ace pitching staff and, well, you have all the
ingredients for a rough year.

However, there is hope.

The Diamondbacks can claim above-average talent at second
base, shortstop, centerfield and right field, and at the
very least guys like Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Barry
Enright have potential to be solid starting pitchers. If a
player from the group of Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew,
Chris Young and Justin Upton emerge as a legitimate stars,
and one or more of the pitchers develops into a much-
needed ace, this team will be more dangerous than people
think.

What does it all add up to? We’ll have at least 162 games
to find out. The first one is in Colorado, and at least
one of this year’s newcomers is optimistic about the
team’s chances going forward.

“I think we’ve got a ball-club here that can go out and
compete and really do something in this Western division,”
veteran Russell Branyan said.

Competing and doing something. That could work.